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Corellas


A poem by Bannockburn Green resident, Bridh Hancock


Cacatua tenuirostris
Corellas, you white-topped cockatoos
Who live corellaries up and down the streets of my town and in
Hundreds of thousands of others, from the Bellarine to the bush beyond Bannockburn, 
West into South Australia, then up and right in a broad sweep along the Murray, 
To think: I passed up the pleasure of 
Dinkum cockatoos and kookaburras to get you!

You adorn the trees and fields with your white feathered forms, and
Live at peace in the territories of relations.
Do you, mornings and evenings, sing for your suppers or celebrate your getting them?
Neither, that squawking is you currying your mates with tall stories, then,
With millions of other corellas Australia-wide, you 
Call for peace,
Call for the love of it,
Call for the healthy exercise of your ‘vocal chords’ or ‘racket-makers’,
Call for the camaraderie of your fellows, or
Call because if you don’t that then spells trouble, and then
Off you go to neighboring fields and farms for your daily feed, still calling.

At night, sitting in comfort above the ruins of 
The happy memories of many a plundered farm and field, you are 
Conviviality writ large and clear:
All of us can see it, but few might notice.
Corellas: do your big round eyes see so much, 
Your red lores (the flesh between your eyes and your upper mandibles) smell so much,
And your big gray beaks say so much, and
Is this a Corella’s take on life?

Long-billed Corellas, I welcome you, tho you don’t welcome me.
May you live long and happily here,
And rowdily somewhere else!

Just as you preceded the coming of the blacks and, more recently,
The whites, I am sure you will 
Postced our departures, too.
Australia is Cockatoo country, and so, in part, is
Corella country, too. 

Bridh Hancock
Bannockburn Victoria